Established in 1979 through an endowment from His Highness the Aga Khan, The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at MIT is dedicated to the study of Islamic architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, and conservation. It prepares students for careers in research, design, and teaching and aims to enhance the understanding of Islamic architecture and urbanism in light of contemporary issues and to increase the visibility of Islamic cultural heritage in the modern world.


New required course for AKPIA students starting Fall 2015

Islamic Architecture and the Environment
Prereq: G; open to UG with permission of instructor
Level: G
Units: 3-0-6
Instructor: James Wescoat

This course studies how Islamic architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning reflect and transform environmental processes in various regions and climates of the Islamic world, from Andalusia to Southeast Asia with an emphasis on South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Using systematic approaches to environmental data collection and analysis, it examines strategies behind the design of selected architectural elements and landscape design types, ranging in scale from the fountain to the garden, courtyard, city, and agrarian region. It critically explores cultural interpretations of Islamic environmental design (e.g., of “paradise” gardens), as they developed over time in ways that enrich, modify, or obscure their historical significance.

The Cambridge Companion to Modern Arab Culture, edited by Dwight Reynolds, has recently been published by Cambridge University Press, with an essay on contemporary Arab architecture by Nasser Rabbat and essays on poetry, narrative, theater, cinema, television, art, humor, folklore, and food.

Group photos of course 4.154 Granada: Design with History
on location in Granada, Spain.

AKPIA@MIT Alumna Glaire Anderson's book The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia: Architecture and Court Culture in Umayyad Córdoba has been chosen as the winner of the 2015 Eleanor Tufts Book Award.

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